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parking brake adjustment?

runningred92

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I adjusted my parking break yesterday afternoon. Now I have a lot play in the brake pedal when I have just been sitting at a light or just getting in to go but after driving a bit and going to stop when I apply the brake it is very stiff. In either case the brakes work the same and work just fine only the change in pedal stiffness/looseness happens. Wondering if I need to just bleed them or if the problem could be in the master cylinder or booster. Thanks in advance-Andrew
 
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StryctNy9e

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From what I know the parking brake is all about cable tension. I had to re adjust mine several times to get it just right after changing my shoes.
 
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runningred92

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Everything works as it should now I was just wondering what would cause the randomness in the brake pedal.
 
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Roadrunner777

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I'm going to speak generally here, I have not verified this in the manuals...

I think by adjusting the parking brake you introduced play in the drum brake assembly. You can do a few things to address this... one would be to repeatedly back up and brake while you are rolling backwards. This is how most drum brakes automatically adjust themselves.

If the automatic adjustment mechanism is binding in some way, then you would need to manually adjust them or have a shop adjust them. At that point, I would probably start thinking about rebuilding the back brakes.
 
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rustbucketMI

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Check your fluid reservoir and make sure that isn't low. You can bleed the brakes if you like but I suspect that because you adjusted them your mind convinced itself that they should feel better. I would suspect that there has always been a looseness in the brake pedal. Mine has had that for years and I just recently replaced all the lines, manifold, ABS, pistons, etc.

Noticing that it is stiff after driving might be explained by the fact that as hydraulic fluid heats up it expands. You can do the calcs but I know for most hydraulic oils a temp rise of 100F can cause something like a 20% volume increase. Applying the brakes will heat the oil.

I may be completely off here but I'd check that. Do a brake bleed for for piece of mind but unless you are leaking fluid I wouldn't worry about it. That being said make sure you aren't leaking fluid
 
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FIND

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When you adjust the parking brake cable, it shifts the shoes and the alignment for the parking brake lever changes. Your slack adjuster rests on the shoes and the parking brake lever. In the future, you can manually adjust the slack adjuster slightly or you can just go in reverse and press the brakes a few times so they will adjust themselves.

Roadrunner is dead on with his answer.

But, I will add, if they are binding, you may want to just remove the drum and try and lube the slack adjuster. A little penetrating oil never hurt anyone, and then you can verify that the adjustment arm is still in place.
 
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runningred92

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I guess I have no idea what I am doing. After I adjusted the P brake and then followed what roadrunner said about readjusting the rear by backing up and braking the P brake went back to the way it was before I adjusted it and the brake pedal is back to the way it was.
 
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FIND

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You should probably check your rear brakes. Perhaps it is time to get new shoes.

The parking brake is entirely mechanical, so it will generally operate independent of other issues with your brakes aside from excessive wear.
 
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Roadrunner777

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I have been down this road before with an old ford pinto and ultimately used up all the adjustment on the cable only to find out... and I don't recall exactly what I found out, but I regretted all the adjusting because I just had to reverse it all.

Before you go any further, I would take off a brake drum and see how much lining you actually have left.

As an aside... my gandmother bakes pies. She used to make the pie crusts from scratch but she uses premade now because it is a lot easier and they are every bit as good as she can do.

I am the same way about drum brakes. There are a dozen pitfalls starting with the sometimes monumental task of actually removing the drum.

See if a shop in town will give you a brake inspection. And if it is reasonable, have them do the work. If not, well, at least someone has broken loose the parts in front of you. If you want to do your own drum brakes, I implore you, have someone at hand that has been there before, and do one side at a time so you can see how it goes back together. The two sides are mirror images of each other, but you will be glad to have a working example.
 
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runningred92

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Ha! thanks Roadrunner I think thats what I will do. This may be another dumb question that would involve more than brakes. 1st is there a drum disc swap or is an entire axle swap necessary for that
 
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Roadrunner777

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The drum is the first part off after the tire/wheel. It is not attached to the axle. Well, it may be rusted on to the axle, but it is not meant to be attached to the axle.

There are two things that make drum brakes annoying. First is the afore mentioned rust glue that sticks the drum to the axle. Second, a lip tends to form at the edge of the drum and often you have to back the brake adjusters down to get the drum off which can be just really hard to do, depending on experience and if you are lying under the car or on a lift.
 
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runningred92

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Thanks again... been reading the posts on a disc swap and checked the local pull a part and they have plenty of 95 to 01 ex's on site. Soooo after some more inspection and professional advice( not to say you are not) I may do the swap this weekend at least the brakes if not the whole axle.
 
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runningred92

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well hopefully I will be out of shoes after this weekend
 
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